.The first South Dakota class was a class of six American battleships that were laid down in 1920 but never completed. They would have been the last dreadnoughts in the Naval Act of 1916 to be commissioned had the Washington Naval Treaty not caused their cancellation one-third of the way through their construction. They would have been the largest, most heavily armed and armored battleships in the U.S. Navy and, designed to achieve 23 knots (43 km/h), represented an attempt to abandon its 21-knot (39 km/h) standardized fleet speed and catch up with the increasing fleet speeds of its main rivals, the British Royal Navy and Imperial Japanese Navy. In this, size and secondary armament, they represented a break from the Standard-type battleship that had dominated American capital ship design for the prior five ship classes, while their use of standardized bridges, lattice masts and other features was a continuation of this practice and the increase in the number of main guns from the preceding Colorado class had long been standard U.S. naval policy. The main restriction to which they had to adhere was the ability to pass through the Panama Canal.The South Dakotas were authorized 4 March 1917, but work was postponed so that the U.S. Navy could incorporate information gained from the Battle of Jutland, fought in 1916, in this class's final design. Work was further postponed to give destroyers and other small fighting vessels priority as they were needed urgently to fight German U-boats in the North Atlantic. Construction started only in 1920. As the Washington Naval Treaty both restricted the total allowable battleship tonnage allowed the U.S. Navy, and limited individual ship size to 35,000 tons, construction was halted 8 February 1922. While the unfinished hulls (most over 30% completed) were scrapped in 1923, the armor plates already prepared were left unused in the shipyards until World War II. The 40- and 50-ton plates intended for Montana, for instance, were sent in 1941 or 42 to the Panama Canal to reinforce the defenses and locks there. The 16" guns were transferred to the U.S. Army for use in coastal artillery. WIKI
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